Stephen Dank. Photo: Justin McManus Stephen Dank. Photo: Justin McManus
Stephen Dank. Photo: Justin McManus
Stephen Dank. Photo: Justin McManus
AFLPA slams ‘shameful’ leaks
Geelong has admitted to sourcing a legal substance from a company connected to Stephen Dank to inject into injured players during the 2009 season, the year the club won the second premiership of its dynasty.
Following reports that the AFL anti-doping tribunal had found that former Cats employee Dean Robinson used the services of Dank — the controversial sports scientist at the centre of the Essendon drugs scandal – while at the Cats, the club released a statement on Monday night clarifying the connection.
“The club sourced Actovegin from a company that was connected to Dank,” the Geelong statement read.
The Cats statement said the use of Actovegin – a substance the club said it used for treatment of soft-tissue injuries – was approved in 2009 “by the AFL’s chief medical officer, Dr Peter Harcourt, and is approved by ASADA and WADA”.
“In 2008 or early 2009, Stephen Dank’s professional services were recommended to the club,” the statement continued.
“Our then assistant general manager of football operations Steve Hocking met with Dank in regard to this, but after that meeting, the club decided not to engage Dank’s services.
“At no time did Dank have a position with our club.”
ASADA has previously stated that Actovegin – the calf blood extract believed to have been widely used at AFL clubs – can be injected only into muscle, and not the vein.
Dank claims to have sourced the substance from the Ukraine.
The Cats decision to use Actovegin came after former premiership player Max Rooke underwent treatment in Germany that involved injecting Actovegin into his injured hamstring.
“In 2007 Max Rooke was sent to Germany to undertake treatment on his hamstring injury. He visited Dr Hans-Wilhelm Muller-Wohlfarth, a world leader in the treatment of soft-tissue injuries. Part of that treatment was the injecting of Actovegin to treat the injury, a fact that was widely reported in the media at time,” the statement said.
“The treatment was successful and Rooke was able to return more quickly than previously thought.
“The success of this treatment led the club’s medical staff to use Actovegin to treat other soft tissue injuries. Members of our medical staff travelled to Germany to meet with Dr Muller-Wohlfarth to gain a greater insight into his methods.
“Later that year the club sourced Actovegin from a company that was connected to Dank. These facts were all made known to the AFL and ASADA in 2013 during their investigation.
“It is normal for our medical staff to source treatments from various suppliers and to meet with suppliers, and in this case, it was from this company and was a one off order.
“Dank had no connection with our players in this process. At all times it was the club doctors that oversaw and conducted these treatments.”
Earlier on Monday, former Cats premiership star Cameron Mooney said this of the club’s supplements program on SEN radio: “we did supplement programs, like everyone does – your powders and stuff like that. But as far as injections, never got injections”.
The AFL reiterated on Monday that, in their view, Geelong had acted appropriately in relation to their medical practices throughout the period in question.
“The AFL joint investigation with ASADA fully and forensically investigated the Geelong Football Club, which included seizing all email, phone and computer records,” the AFL statement read.
“The AFL is aware that Actovegin was purchased.
“The investigation found no evidence of any irregular supplement or injection program, and no evidence of any prohibited substances at the Geelong Football Club.”
Geelong’s statement also pointed to the outcome of the joint AFL-ASADA investigation.
“When the Essendon drugs issues were unearthed in February 2013, there was an immediate link to our club due to the fact that Dean Robinson had worked for both Geelong and Essendon,” the statement read.
“We were able to supply authorities with full and thorough record keeping of our practices.
“The AFL and ASADA found our club had acted appropriately and had no case to answer. This is indisputable and the AFL has again re-affirmed this fact today in a statement.”
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